Hopkinton’s Beech Hill School receives $1.3 million donation

Last modified: Sunday, April 19, 2015
The Beech Hill School in Hopkinton just got a big financial boost.

A $1.3 million boost, to be precise. As of last week, the independent middle school received the money to pay off their start-up debt.

“The first time I said it out loud I said it to the faculty,” said Beech Hill’s Head of School, Rick Johnson. “I got choked up a bit.”

The gift marks a major milestone for the three-year-old school, which opened its doors in 2012 and teaches grades six through eight. Johnson said he hopes the gift will make Beech Hill financially stable.

“This is sustainable,” he said. “To give this huge infusion is going to be able to help the school move forward in a sustainable way.”

Beyond the money, Johnson also points to the other growth the school has experienced in the few years it’s been open.

When Beech Hill started, they had just eight students. That number has grown to 27, and Johnson expects it will continue to go up. He says he hopes the school can get to the point where they serve about 72 students total.

“Now people know and the families that have been here have been able to go forward and talk about what their experience was,” he said.

The two donors are a couple who have chosen to remain anonymous for the time being, he said. The reason they chose to donate to the school is its steady growth over the years, which Johnson said reflects the school’s ability to hire and retain good teachers and make inroads in the local community.

“It’s validation that what we’re doing matters,” he said.

He points to the school offering financial aid to students in need and says he hopes the school can continue to draw a diverse group of kids.

The school has six teachers and teaches five core classes to students: English, social studies, math, Spanish and science. Students can also choose elective courses; one of the ones being taught earlier this week was a course on the history of comic books.

The bright, sunny school building is nestled in a valley in Hopkinton with rolling fields surrounding it.

On a sunny day in the middle of the week, students and teachers gathered outside to eat lunch, with the sound of spring peepers in the background.

Even though the gift is substantial, Johnson said he’s not about to rush out to buy flashy gadgets for Beech Hill students.

Instead, the main priority will be to keep educating students, he said.

“It doesn’t allow us to change things, it allows us to keep doing things well,” he said. “This is actually creating the very basis and foundation of our school going into the future.”

(Ella Nilsen can be reached at 369-3322, enilsen@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @ella_nilsen)